11 people, who drowned in 2018, might be alive today had they been wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid. This is one of the main findings of this year’s Casualty Review Panel.
The panel reviewed 22 fatalities from 2018 and agreed that 11 lives could have been saved if they had been wearing a lifejacket. This figure is slightly lower than last year’s figure of 13 lives (out of 27 fatalities).
In the twelve years that the panel has been meeting, is has recorded that 200 lives could have been saved by wearing a lifejacket or buoyancy aid.
The majority of incidents last year involved commercial fishermen (including accidents at fish farms) and anglers, many of which happened in Scottish sea lochs.
The panel’s overriding advice was to wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid appropriate to your activity which is proven to greatly improve your chances of surviving the shock of entering cold water. The panel also recommended an additional package of measures to keep you safe for your activity.
Carrying a VHF DSC radio and knowing how to use it to contact the coastguard or other vessels carrying a personal location beacon or emergency position indicating radio beacon (PLB) or (EPIRB) will help rescuers to locate you and even if you’re unconscious the alarm will be raised.
Downloading the RYA SafeTrx app on your phone and using it in an emergency could make all the difference. Wearing appropriate clothing and carrying the right safety equipment for your sport, particularly rock anglers and sport fishermen wading in slippery rivers.
Making sure your equipment is properly fitted, for example wearing a lifejacket with a crotch strap attached. This advice comes after the panel looked at a case where a yachtsman died because he was wearing a lifejacket that was not properly fitted, had ridden up and was not keeping his head above water.
Maritime safety week is focusing on important safety issues such as lifejacket wear this year. On Wednesday 3 July as part of this, Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani MP met with other ministers and the fishing industry to talk about fishing vessel safety.